Blog Corner Image

When a river is has personhood: from Ecuador to New Zealand

When a river is has personhood: from Ecuador to New Zealand

When a river is a person: from Ecuador to New Zealand

New Zealand passed its first rights for nature law in March 2017. In the early 2000s, the idea of giving legal rights to nature was on the fringes of environmental legal theory and public consciousness. There, the Whanganui River, which flows across the North Island, has been granted rights of personhood. That means the river can act as a person in a court of law; it has legal standing.

If the Whanganui had the right to flow in a certain way, for example, then any change to its course would be a violation of its rights. Absent this kind of right, the river is simply empowered to stand for itself in court; its legal guardians determine the positive content of its rights.

By granting natural entities personhood one by one and assigning them specific guardians, over time New Zealand could drastically change an ossified legal system that still sees oceans, mountains and forests primarily as property, guaranteeing nature its day in court.

Sustainability Spotlight: Tony’s Coffee

Sustainability Spotlight: Tony’s Coffee

How did sustainability start for Tony’s? Our sustainability journey can be traced back to 2002, when we began sourcing Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown coffee. Since then, we moved to 100% green power, doubled our roasting efficiency, offset our roastery’s carbon footprint, and continue to support causes that we care about. Our commitment to sourcing…

Sustainability Spotlight: Aslan Brewing Company

Sustainability Spotlight: Aslan Brewing Company

Aslan Brewing Company, a member of Sustainable Connections, is based in Bellingham, WA and was founded in 2012. From the beginning, every decision the Aslan founders made was through the lens of sustainability. When Aslan opened its brewpub doors in May of 2014, team members focused on crafting world-class beer with local ingredients and low-impact…

Sustainability Spotlight: Brio Laundry and Cleaners

Sustainability Spotlight: Brio Laundry and Cleaners

Buckminster Fuller once said, “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. That, in essence, is the higher service to which we are all being called.” Colleen Unema combined her educator mindset with a…

California testing solar-paneled canals

California testing solar-paneled canals

The Turlock Irrigation District approved a pilot project testing the construction of solar panels over canals in the San Joaquin Valley. Key takeaways: The decision was based on research demonstrating that covering the 4,000 miles of California’s water canals with solar panels could reduce evaporation by as much as 82%, saving up to 63 billion…

Get started

How ready is your organization for climate change and sustainability? Get your questions answered. Peak can help you move to a strategy-driven roadmap.